back to article Intel rolls out Skulltrail high-end gaming mobo

Intel has formally launched 'Skulltrail', its two-CPU gaming motherboard that's ready for both AMD's CrossFire and Nvidia's SLI multi-GPU technologies. Skulltrail - which Register Hardware reviewed last month - can take two quad-core 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processors - essentially a pair of server-oriented Xeon CPUs with …

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Happy

why?

No games need 8 cores .

UK price will be near 3k for board & cpu's

If you are paying silly money for mb/cpu then will it do 3way Sli

just to get 3 geforce 8800 ultra cards ($600 to $800 each) .

If you have the money to blow on this then send your money to me you have to much (and no sense).

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Stop

For your money...

"...you also get six USB 2.0 ports on the I/O panel, two eSATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet..."

And enough aluminium in the form of heatsinks to keep a medium-sized bauxite mine operational for six months and an electricity bill to match. A year's supply of earplugs to offset the noise of the southbridge and PCIe controller HSF, not to mention the kilowatt PSU you'll need, will also be required.

It has already been said that the FB-DIMM memory subsystem is inferior to current parallel access DDRx schemes, yet they still keep pushing this as a "gaming" system. Curious. Anyone thinking of buying one of these would be well advised to look at the Tom's Hardware review of this platform (and do try not to laugh at the screenshot of the CMOS utility page for setting up memory bank interleaving when you remember doing the self-same thing on an old PPro Proliant twelve years ago). I will warn you, it's hardly positive, especially given the amount of wonga you'd have to part with to build one of these and the dearth of multi-threaded games that can scale to eight cores.

On a brighter note, I look forward to the day when the fenestrophiles need a Windows COA for each core. It'll bring the price of cases down as there will be no need to paint them.

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Jobs Halo

@Why

Well, there's plans to sort the drivers for 4-way XFire, but not sure about 4-way SLI.

As to why people would want 8-cores, it doesn't just have to be a games machine you know. Me personally, if I wanted this I'd buy a Mac Pro and get them to configure it with 2 quad-core Xeons, the option is there for Xfire as well - probably about £3K for the machine and peripherals - which has been available for about a year I think. Madness, maybe, but definitely useful. Think a developer using multiple VMware machines on the one physical machine and you start seeing the justification.

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I've been saving up for an 8 core PowerMac which is surprisingly similar to this

Although my intention is for video editing and encoding not gaming. Currently some of my encodes take 12 hours on a dual core CPU.

Not sure games (unlike video encoders) take all that much advantage of 8 cores. Also, I thought for things like games the Xeon architecture was actually slower per GHz. I guess we'll see if people end up with bragging rights, or just get laughed at. Gamers are a picky bunch, albeit with a lot of cash.

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E

Server...

With all those x16 PCIe slots, I'd stuff it full of RAID cards and hang a lot of disks off it. It'll make a fine file server.

Anyone who buys this board, 2 high end Xeons, and 3 or 4 video cards in order to play *video games* either has far too much money or is simply a fool.

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Dead Vulture

Oh, a "motherboard".

I thought you'd invented a new form of mobe, or some kind of award.

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How many games are multi-core aware?

IIRC, most of the advanced games are single-threaded. What will the other seven cores be doing, and what games will take advantage of these cores?

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Dead Vulture

Re: Server

"Anyone who buys this board, 2 high end Xeons, and 3 or 4 video cards in order to play *video games* either has far too much money or is simply a fool."

Or both, if the shoeing that this system got over at Tom's Hardware is any indication. Comparisons are made with the AMD 4x4 setup which, oddly enough, sank without a trace.

Still, stick enough RAM in it and it would make a fine basis for a hardcore virtualisation rig.

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Flame

@AC

mobo is indeed the correct reference, and has been before you were crapping on a carpet.

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Anonymous Coward

Vista

I've seen system built on this. Vista gave it magic score of 5.8 out of 6 ;)

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Paris Hilton

hmmm...

Hmm.. this thing'll keep you warm in the wintertime... zomg can you imagine the electricity bill?

*shakes head*

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Silver badge

No games need eight cores

Indeed, there aren't all that many that can take advantage of two anyway.

Although I am led to believe that any game based on the Quake III engine is supposed to benefit a bit, which would mean that Quake IV games should do so as well.

Crysis is a game that stands to get help from just about ay improvement since it is so resource-hungry, but apart from that the only other game I can think of that would gain anything would be Supreme Commander.

In my own experience, I had SupComm running on a Core 2 Duo and switched over to a Quad 6600 and it ran a lot smoother. Not really a big boost on framerate, but a lot less dips and the dips were shallower as well. All in all, the Quad Core made the game perform more consistently the same, at quite a playable level.

But apart from the above, I can't say that double-quad core gaming is going to be anything to write home about.

And given the trouble the current graphic chip moguls have with putting 2 cards together, I shudder to think of the issues of having to deal with 4 cards is going to be.

Who knows ? Maybe we'll see proper drivers for those monsters once there are actually games that can benefit from it all ?

Like when Duke Nukem Forever comes out.

Whatever century that is.

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